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Comparing metabolic profiles between female endurance athletes and non-athletes reveals differences in androgen and corticosteroid levels

journal contribution
submitted on 2023-12-06, 11:56 and posted on 2023-12-07, 08:16 authored by Amneh H. Tarkhan, Najeha R. Anwardeen, Maha Sellami, Francesco Donati, Francesco Botrè, Xavier de la Torre, Mohamed A. Elrayess

Endurance training is associated with physiological changes in elite athletes, but little is known about female-specific effects of endurance training. Despite the significant rise in female sports participation, findings from studies performed on male athletes are largely extrapolated to females without taking into consideration sex-specific differences in metabolism. Subsequently, this study aimed to investigate the steroid hormone profiles of elite female endurance athletes in comparison with their non-athletic counterparts. Untargeted metabolomics-based mass spectroscopy combined with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography was performed on serum samples from 51 elite female endurance athletes and 197 non-athletic females. The results showed that, compared to non-athletic females, certain androgen, pregnenolone, and progestin steroid hormones were reduced in elite female endurance athletes, while corticosteroids were elevated. The most significantly altered steroid hormones were 5alpha-androstan-3alpha,17alpha-diol monosulfate (FDR = 1.90 × 10-05), androstenediol (3alpha, 17alpha) monosulfate (FDR = 2.93 × 10-04), and cortisol (FDR = 2.93 × 10-04). Conclusively, the present study suggests that elite female endurance athletes have a unique steroid hormone profile with implications on their general health and performance.

Other Information

Published in: The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • Biomedical Research Center - QU
  • College of Education - QU
  • Qatar University Health - QU